Cornell Graduate Students Hold Second Rally For Changes To Mental Health Services

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The Cornell graduate student union, Cornell Graduate Students United is trying to pressure the University Administration for changes to mental health services. They have rallied twice, most recently this week outside the Board of Trustees meeting.

The Cornell graduate students presented a petition with over 900 signatures to the board. The chairman accepted it and spoke to the students.

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Thea Kozakis, Ph.D. student in Astrophysics speaking to rally for better mental health at Cornell University. December 5, 2018

Their first rally was in December 2018. Since then, the administration has announced there will be an external review of mental health services and other changes. Natalie Hofmeister and other graduate students consider that encouraging. She is a spokesperson for the union.

But, she said the university needs to do more, especially, to help graduate students of color and those who are LGBTQ+.

“In the coming months,” Hofmeister said, “we’ll be continuing to put pressure on the University, continuing to engage in conversations across the campus about our needs whatever they may be with regards to mental health care.”

Hofmeister said her union wants the university to hire more mental health providers and increase group therapy for graduate students.

In an email, Vice President Ryan Lombardi says the University takes the issue seriously. They’re making changes starting this fall. He says they’re working with the Coalition on Mental Health, the student-led task force on mental health, and others. And they’re open to more graduate students participating.